In Neopia magic feels as commonplace as water. But don’t be fooled, though the presence of all those Faeries, wizards, and witches would make you think otherwise, the ability to use magic is a rare ability not easily learned let alone to master. It’s for this very reason that schools of magic were formed all around Neopia. However each magic school is not the same (some aren’t even exclusively magic schools), and there’s no better way to explain this than revealing their exam methods. And I’m not talking about written exams as I go over:Faerieland Academy
INSTRUCTOR: Library Faerie
“While I may not teach any classes at the academy, though I do provide students with the books that they need, I am licensed to oversee exams whenever extra instructors are needed.
In addition to each class having its own kind of exam, we have an additional split whether it’s a Neopet or Faerie taking the exam. While the Faerieland Academy is open for Neopets to attend, the original and on-going purpose of it is to teach young Faeries to control their magic and that requires extra care. Faeries are made of magic, it wouldn’t be fair to have a Neopet take an exam made for a purely magical being and expect them to pass; though there have been handful of Neopets who have passed by using a combination of their gained magic skills and special traits of their species, but that’s beside the point.
With Faerie exams most are about controlling or working around an aspect of their element. One of the final exams involves a six way spellcasting duel between student Faeries of each element. However, instead of using offense spells of their element, they may only use anti-element spells, spells which nullify a certain element, to incapacitate the other Faeries. If a Faerie has been struck with an anti-element spell they’re not out but they cannot be the “winner” unless they can re-charge their element. The exam ends when there’s only one Faerie remaining with her element un-restrained. It’s to test the young Faeries if they learned to use their element in non-offensive ways while also dealing with potential threats that may be immune or able to disable their elemental power. There have been plenty of matches where all the Faeries have had their element restrained and must find a way to fully re-charge while also dodging anti-element spells.
As for Neopet exams, the most famous, or rather infamous depending on the students’ feeling about it, is the “witch hunt” that spellcasting students take. A group of students are placed around a test ground made up of different environments and must find and incapacitate one another until there’s one remaining. Unlike with the Faerie exam mentioned above, once a student has been incapacitated they’re out of the exam. However their peers aren’t the only beings a student needs to worry about as the test ground is alive with creatures ranging from plants, small Petpetpets, to large beasts that interact with magic in different ways and can easily incapacitate an unsuspecting student. Don’t worry, the students are perfectly safe, the larger beasts are trained not to chew any student they nab and to spit up the student at the nearest exit.
And this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to exams, which is good as a student who fails on one exam may pass another. And even if a student is taken out of an exam their performance during it can still be enough to pass them; this is a test after all, not a competition. Though winners of exams are given a commemorative plaque and increase in reputation and prestige within the clubs of the academy.”
“I’m actually a former instructor at Brightvale Academy, but when exam time comes I’m sometimes hired back temporarily to provide my wisdom and expertise. I didn’t attend Brightvale Academy myself; I learned to become a wizard through the old fashioned way of apprenticeship, though we’re speaking a few hundred years ago at that point *chuckles*. In fact, I remember when Brightvale Academy first opened its doors, way before Hagan became king or was even born. But this isn’t a history lesson; you want to know about the exam of the magic classes, such curiosity which I can shed light upon.
Obviously there are many different magic classes such as magic casting, spell deciphering, potion mixing, alchemy, familiar summoning, curse removal, and a batch of social study classes about applying magic to everyday life, politics, and so on. Don’t know much about the exams of those social study classes, a lot of them are written exams and in my opinion magic is about doing not conceptualizing, but I’m not asked to instruct those exams so I digress. The actual magic classes are more hands-on, though with most you can probably guess what their exams are. Not that a previous year student can tell what a next year student needs to do; though the exams are standardized to a degree there’s plenty of variables that can be changed.
For example, in spell deciphering the student is given either a scroll or object that has text of magic written upon them. The text could range from a language that is no longer or rarely used, constructed, uses images instead of words, or coded in various ways; and sometimes we combine methods together. A comprehend language spell would only help the student so far, and may sometimes hinder them if we set up the language to be read in a parallel way; think how Qasalan is meant to be read backwards yet can sometimes still form a comprehendible sentence if read forward when translated into Sakhmetian.
In potion mixing you’re given a supply of ingredients but not all the ones needed to make the requested potion. To build their way up to mixing the requested potion the student would need to know how certain potions mix together, the effect potions have on certain ingredients, and which ingredients should they use or keep.
Curse removal has an unknown (but relatively harmless) curse casted and it’s left to the student to figure out what the curse is and how to break it. The exam room is set up with furniture, Petpets, and other kind of items that could be cursed or used to break the curse. The student themselves or even the instructor observing them could be the ones cursed; it’s as much a mystery as it’s a test of the student’s magic skills.
I could go on but I think you get what I mean. The exams aren’t made for students to fail, though that is certainly a possibility and comes with dire consequences, but made to consider many factors so doing badly in one area can be averaged out by doing well in another. Familiar summoning is a good example of this as its factors aren’t your usual ones like time or efficiency but rather how well the student had taken care and trained their familiar throughout the course. As long as a student has been paying attention in class and studying properly they should have no issue passing, though unless they came in on a scholarship or are invited to join a magic organization who’ll pay off their loan they may find for a while after graduating they’d be using their magic skill in helping Brightvale Academy where they learned said skills.” *Shakes his head and gives a dissatisfied sounding grunt*
Altador’s School of the Arcane
“As the member of the Altador council responsible for the magic used within Altador’s walls, I saw it fit to open a magic school to teach those who have a touch of magic. Back when Altador was founded, over a thousand years ago, there was no place for Neopets who could use magic to hone their skills. Since magic was so rare and poorly known this meant many feared it so magic users kept their power secret. I know all this too well, but that all changed when on a fateful day I met a young Lupe hunter who I revealed my magic to. Finneus could catch you up on the rest, but together we and the other council built a city where no one would be persecuted. One of my goals was to not only help those with magic power but teach them and spread the understanding of magic. And so I opened Altador’s School of the Arcane.
Being the first magic school to train Neopets, the Faerie Academy at the time was still a secret and only for Faeries, we follow a simpler teaching style. Instead of splitting every student into classes, we had big auditoriums with hundreds of seats facing a stage. The room was built so voices would carry but not cause an echoing effect. We sought out and hired wizards, witches, and alchemists who have honed their crafts to teach a lesson on the stage. Students were free to attend or leave any lesson they wish; records were carefully kept on the student’s progress just so we knew their preferences or they needed an intervention. At the end of each lesson the teacher would quiz the attending students on what they learned. When final exams come it’s the student’s choice which teacher’s exam they want to take. A student must take at least one final exam though encouraged to take as many as they can. The amount of exams they take effect what we expect from them: if they only take one exam they have to pass with a perfect score while if they take say three or four we give them more leeway; and students who took multiple exams and passed some or all of them with perfect scores would receive greater praise.
We leave it in the student’s hand what they take from Altador’s School of Arcane. We believe that, if a student wants to be a great mage, it has to be themselves that strive for it and not the school assigning them classes they must take; though we do have guidance counselors for students seeking wisdom on what magic they should learn. And if the student only wishes to have a general understanding of magic that is fine too and we’re happy to teach them; one of our goals is to spread the knowledge of magic and that it’s a useful and powerful tool that’s not to be afraid of.”
Qasala’s Curse Occult
INSTRUCTOR: Usul Gypsy
“Just because the most well known gypsy camp is found in the Haunted Woods doesn’t mean there aren’t others around Neopia; don’t be so small minded. Granted, this might be surprising to know as most other camps travel throughout Neopia; some all over Neopia while others sticking to a general area of one or two lands. I am from a gypsy camp situated in the Lost Desert, though I have been away from them for some time to teach at Qasala’s Curse Occult; sometimes we gypsy need outliers like me to make the NP to assure the camp’s needs are met.
Though I wouldn’t be in such a fortunate position it was not for the uniqueness that is this institute. While it is a type of magic, curses are a kind of specialized magic that you can’t casually use nor has a common place in society. This makes teaching about curses feel like an otherworldly experience, so tests need to be handled in equally different ways from other magic exams. Since curses are meant to be continual and self-sufficient, instead of several planned exams an initiate is given a curse they must maintain, control, break, and re-cast. They have no choice what the curse is, it could be they who get cursed or given a cursed item, but it’s not something that’ll harm or hinder them. At the end of every class they’re expected to have adjusted the curse according to the lesson learned. Sometimes they’ll be expected to make the curse more beneficial; other times make it so the curse gives them a challenge to overcome. Eventually they’ll be taught to break the curse, but that’s not the end. On the final day initiates are expected to be able to re-cast the curse not only in its original form but in all the variations they changed it into.
All this could take years, and we’re constantly under scrutiny from the magic community though so far King Jazan has stood by us. A common argument is what good is a magic user who only knows about curses? An argument not worth countering, but I’ll do so as I brought it up. Aside from the obvious and very useful ability to break or weaken stronger curses, curses can be used as a defensive tactic. The most useful spells are often the simplest and weakest, able to be used upon many instead of one target. Imagine enemy forces suddenly becoming terribly itchy or having a sneezing fit. Or how about the positive curses: Boons? Yes, the very same ones that Oracle of the Obelisk “blesses” Neopians with. Those are technically curses, but curses which has a positive effect instead of negative. Think about that the next time you’re choosing what “Boon” the Oracle is asking to curse you with.” *She gives a sinister smile as I decide to leave and ponder that revelation... oh, and go to speak with the next instructor*
Order of the Red Erisim
“Well first of all, I wouldn’t call the Order of the Red Erisim a magic school. We aren’t taking untrained students here; every member is a master spellcaster, alchemist, or scribe. If anything the magic schools serve as the first barrier of entry to becoming a member of the Order; we may not be looking for students but we do keep an eye on the graduates. Of course there’s more to being offered membership than graduating with a magic degree, but that’s as far as I’m divulging of our recruitment tactics.
If there’s any other kind of magic tests going on within the Order it’s either a personal challenge or a wizard duel. Your ranking in the Order is decided upon by committee based on your skill, knowledge, and accomplishments; the leader elected by majority as I was.
BUT, though we may not issue tests of our own, that’s not to say our members don’t serve as instructors and observers. Jerdana and Seradar are two such members, two of our most powerful who choose not to use their magic to advance themselves but teach new generations. These members sometimes request the resources of the Order of the Red Erisim if their school doesn’t have the necessary equipment for the exams they have in mind. Rarely do we reject these requests, it is in our best interest to assure new magic users are using magic responsibly, though we’re not a warehouse so rejections occur when a member could easily get what they need elsewhere. This usually happens with newer and younger members, our older and more esteem members such as Jerdana and Seradar have only asked the Order when they plan on using a rare magical ingredient and the times they did can be counted on your hands or paws or whatever body part you can use to count.
Though you couldn’t have asked me this at a worse time, I’ve quite have had it with “tests” of late. Every few weeks the Oracle calls for a skirmish only for the winner to be awarded with vague babble. It claims it’s testing us but to what end? What purpose? I’m being rhetorical of course, I doubt a reporter could have or get any information from the Obelisk spirit that our most brightest and wise couldn’t obtain. Now off, you’re beginning to test my patients!”
Not wanting to start playing a game of dodge fireball, we’re ending our world tour of the magic schools here! From the Faerie Academy and Brightvale University that focuses on class exams, Altador’s School of the Arcane and Qasala’s Curse Occult which have more unique ways of testing their students, to ending on the Order of the Red Erisim who may not be a magic school but provides instructors and supplies for these exams. While magic may be rare, there are a number of magic schools one can attend whether they have the magic touch or curiosity of an ancient and mysterious power. Don’t be fooled, Neopia is full of magic!